Thursday, 14 August 2014

Gartner’s Hype Cycles

Gartner’s Hype Cycles are useful tools for informally thinking about new technologies. They helps remind us that mass hype and ‘inflated expectations’, and then the reaction to the hype and dip into the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’, probably occur with every new technology.

As Learning Technologists we want to try and see through the hype to understand if a technology is going to be useful in their context and at what point in time. We also need to share the insight given us by the hype cycle with the academics and managers we work with. If we don’t we will constantly be working with new technologies that are at the ‘Peak of Inflated Expectations’, whether they are suitable or not, before dumping them in the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ for whatever is the next flavour of the month. Perhaps that is a contributing factor to consider when thinking about why few innovations in educational technology go beyond the pilot stage.

The Hype Cycle can also, to some extent, give us an idea of when technologies might be suitable for mainstream adoption and so what is worth exploring in more detail now. On the Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2014 we see Speech Recognition and In-Memory Analytics marked as having less that than 2 years before they reach the plateau of productivity. Marked as 2-5 years away include Gesture Control, NFC, and 3D Scanners. 5-10 years away are Autonomous Vehicles and Augmented Reality. Finally the group of technologies more than 10 years from the plateau include Brain-Computer Interfaces and Volumetric and Holographic Displays.

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